Polarized phonons carry angular momentum in ultrafast demagnetization
2022, Tauchert, Sonja R., Volkov, Mikhail, Ehberger, Dominik, Kazenwadel, Daniel L., Evers, Martin, Lange, Hannah, Donges, Andreas, Book, Alexander, Nowak, Ulrich, Baum, Peter
Magnetic phenomena are ubiquitous in nature and indispensable for modern science and technology, but it is notoriously difficult to change the magnetic order of a material in a rapid way. However, if a thin nickel film is subjected to ultrashort laser pulses, it loses its magnetic order almost completely within femtosecond timescales1. This phenomenon is widespread2-7 and offers opportunities for rapid information processing8-11 or ultrafast spintronics at frequencies approaching those of light8,9,12. Consequently, the physics of ultrafast demagnetization is central to modern materials research1-7,13-28, but a crucial question has remained elusive: if a material loses its magnetization within mere femtoseconds, where is the missing angular momentum in such a short time? Here we use ultrafast electron diffraction to reveal in nickel an almost instantaneous, long-lasting, non-equilibrium population of anisotropic high-frequency phonons that appear within 150-750 fs. The anisotropy plane is perpendicular to the direction of the initial magnetization and the atomic oscillation amplitude is 2 pm. We explain these observations by means of circularly polarized phonons that quickly absorb the angular momentum of the spin system before macroscopic sample rotation. The time that is needed for demagnetization is related to the time it takes to accelerate the atoms. These results provide an atomistic picture of the Einstein-de Haas effect and signify the general importance of polarized phonons for non-equilibrium dynamics and phase transitions.
The role of ultrafast magnon generation in the magnetization dynamics of rare-earth metals
2020-09, Frietsch, Björn, Donges, Andreas, Carley, Robert, Teichmann, Martin, Bowlan, John, Döbrich, Kristian, Carva, Karel, Legut, Dominik, Nowak, Ulrich, Weinelt, Martin
Ultrafast demagnetization of rare-earth metals is distinct from that of 3d ferromagnets, as rare-earth magnetism is dominated by localized 4f electrons that cannot be directly excited by an optical laser pulse. Their demagnetization must involve excitation of magnons, driven either through exchange coupling between the 5d6s-itinerant and 4f-localized electrons or by coupling of 4f spins to lattice excitations. Here, we disentangle the ultrafast dynamics of 5d6s and 4f magnetic moments in terbium metal by time-resolved photoemission spectroscopy. We show that the demagnetization time of the Tb 4f magnetic moments of 400 fs is set by 4f spin-lattice coupling. This is experimentally evidenced by a comparison to ferromagnetic gadolinium and supported by orbital-resolved spin dynamics simulations. Our findings establish coupling of the 4f spins to the lattice via the orbital momentum as an essential mechanism driving magnetization dynamics via ultrafast magnon generation in technically relevant materials with strong magnetic anisotropy.
Non-collinear antiferromagnetic states in Ru-based Heusler compounds induced by biquadratic coupling
2020, Simon, Eszter, Donges, Andreas, Szunyogh, László, Nowak, Ulrich
We investigate the magnetic properties of Ru2MnZ (Z=Sn,Sb,Ge,Si) chemically ordered, full Heusler compounds for zero as well as finite temperatures. Based on first-principles calculations we derive the interatomic isotropic bilinear and biquadratic couplings between Mn atoms from the paramagnetic state. We find frustrated isotropic couplings for all compounds and, in the case of Z=Si and Sb, a nearest-neighbor biquadratic coupling that favors perpendicular alignment between the Mn spins. By using an extended classical Heisenberg model in combination with spin dynamics simulations we obtain the magnetic equilibrium states. From these simulations we conclude that the biquadratic coupling, in combination with the frustrated isotropic interactions, leads to noncollinear magnetic ground states in the Ru2MnSi and Ru2MnSb compounds. In particular, for these alloys we find two distinct, noncollinear ground states which are energetically equivalent and can be identified as 3Q and 4Q states on a frustrated fcc lattice. Investigating the thermal stability of the noncollinear phase we find that, in the case of Ru2MnSi, the multiple-Q phase undergoes a transition to the single Q phase, while in case of Ru2MnSb the corresponding transition is not obtained due to the larger magnitude of the nearest-neighbor biquadratic coupling.
Element‐specific Magnetization Damping in Ferrimagnetic DyCo5 Alloys Revealed by Ultrafast X‐ray Measurements
2021-08, Abrudan, Radu, Hennecke, Martin, Radu, Florin, Kachel, Torsten, Holldack, Karsten, Mitzner, Rolf, Donges, Andreas, Khmelevskyi, Sergii, Nowak, Ulrich, Radu, Ilie
The dynamic response of magnetically‐ordered materials to an ultrashort external stimulus depends on microscopic parameters such as magnetic moment, exchange and spin‐orbit interactions. Whereas it is well established that, in multi‐component magnetic alloys and compounds, the speed of demagnetization and spin switching processes has an element‐specific character, the magnetization damping has been assumed to be a universal parameter for all constituent magnetic elements irrespective of their different spin‐orbit couplings and electronic structure. Here, we provide experimental and theoretical evidence for an element‐specific magnetic damping parameter by investigating the ultrafast magnetization response of a high‐anisotropy ferrimagnetic DyCo5 alloy to femtosecond laser excitation. Employing femtosecond laser pump – X‐ray magnetic circular dichroism (XMCD) probe measurements combined with atomistic spin dynamics (ASD) simulations using ab‐initio calculated parameters we reveal a strikingly different demagnetization and remagnetization dynamics of the Dy and Co magnetic moments upon photo‐excitation. These observations, fully corroborated by the ASD simulations, are linked to the element‐specific spin‐orbit coupling strengths of Dy and Co, which are incorporated in the phenomenological magnetization damping parameters. Our findings can be used as a recipe for tuning the speed and magnitude of laser‐driven magnetic processes and consequently allowing to control various dynamic functionalities in multi‐component magnetic materials.
Unveiling domain wall dynamics of ferrimagnets in thermal magnon currents : competition of angular momentum transfer and entropic torque
2020, Donges, Andreas, Grimm, Niklas, Jakobs, Florian, Selzer, Severin, Ritzmann, Ulrike, Atxitia, Unai, Nowak, Ulrich
Control of magnetic domain wall motion holds promise for efficient manipulation and transfer of magnetically stored information. Thermal magnon currents, generated by temperature gradients, can be used to move magnetic textures, from domain walls to magnetic vortices and skyrmions. In the past several years, theoretical studies have focused on ferro- and antiferromagnetic spin structures, where domain walls always move toward the hotter end of the thermal gradient. Here we perform numerical studies using atomistic spin dynamics simulations and complementary analytical calculations to derive an equation of motion for the domain wall velocity in ferrimagnets. We demonstrate that in ferrimagnets, domain wall motion under thermal magnon currents shows a much richer dynamics. Below the Walker breakdown, we find that the temperature gradient always pulls the domain wall toward the hot end by minimizing its free energy, in agreement with the observations for ferro- and antiferromagnets in the same regime. Above Walker breakdown, the ferrimagnetic domain wall can show the opposite, counterintuitive behavior of moving toward the cold end. We show that in this case, the motion to the hotter or the colder ends is driven by angular momentum transfer and therefore strongly related to the angular momentum compensation temperature, a unique property of ferrimagnets where the intrinsic angular momentum of the ferrimagnet is zero while the sublattice angular momentum remains finite. In particular, we find that below the compensation temperature the wall moves toward the cold end, whereas above it toward the hot end. Moreover, we find that for ferrimagnets, there is a torque compensation temperature at which the domain wall dynamics shows similar characteristics to antiferromagnets, that is, quasi-inertia-free motion and the absence of Walker breakdown. This finding opens the door for fast control of magnetic domains as given by the antiferromagnetic character while conserving the advantage of ferromagnets in terms of measuring and control by conventional means such as magnetic fields.
Terahertz spin dynamics driven by an optical spin-orbit torque
2021, Mondal, Ritwik, Donges, Andreas, Nowak, Ulrich
Spin torques are at the heart of spin manipulations in spintronic devices. Here, we examine the existence of an optical spin-orbit torque, a relativistic spin torque originating from the spin-orbit coupling of an oscillating applied field with the spins. We compare the effect of the nonrelativistic Zeeman torque with the relativistic optical spin-orbit torque for ferromagnetic systems excited by a circularly polarised laser pulse. The latter torque depends on the helicity of the light and scales with the intensity, while being inversely proportional to the frequency. Our results show that the optical spin-orbit torque can provide a torque on the spins, which is quantitatively equivalent to the Zeeman torque. Moreover, temperature dependent calculations show that the effect of optical spin-orbit torque decreases with increasing temperature. However, the effect does not vanish in a ferromagnetic system, even above its Curie temperature.
L10 -ordered (Fe100−xCrx)Pt thin films : Phase formation, morphology, and spin structure
2020, Schmidt, Nataliia Y., Mondal, Ritwik, Donges, Andreas, Hintermayr, Julian, Luo, Chen, Ryll, Hanjo, Radu, Florin, Szunyogh, László, Nowak, Ulrich, Albrecht, Manfred
Chemically ordered L10 (Fe100−xCrx)Pt thin films were expitaxially grown on MgO(001) substrates by magnetron sputter-deposition at 770∘C. In this sample series, Fe was continuously substituted by Cr over the full composition range. The lattice parameter in the  growth direction steadily increases from L10-FePt toward L10-CrPt, confirming the incorporation of Cr in the lattice occupying Fe sites. With the observed high degree of chemical ordering and (001) orientation, strong perpendicular magnetic anisotropy is associated, which persists up to a Cr content of x=20 at. %. Similarly, the coercive field in the easy-axis direction is strongly reduced, which is, however, further attributed to a strong alteration of the film morphology with Cr substitution. The latter changes from a well-separated island microstructure to a more continuous film morphology. In the dilute alloy with low Cr content, isolated Cr magnetic moments couple antiferromagnetically to the ferromagnetic Fe matrix. In this case, all Cr moments are aligned parallel, thus forming a ferrimagnetic FeCrPt system. With increasing Cr concentration, nearest-neighbor Cr-Cr pairs start to appear, thereby increasing magnetic frustration and disorder, which lead to canting of neighboring magnetic moments, as revealed by atomistic spin-model simulations with model parameters based on first principles. At higher Cr concentrations, a frustrated ferrimagnetic order is established. With Cr substitution of up to 20 at. %, no pronounced change in Curie temperature, which is in the range of 700 K, was noticed. But with further addition the Curie temperature drops down substantially even down to room temperature at 47 at. % Cr. Furthermore, x-ray magnetic circular dichroism studies on dilute alloys containing up to 20 at. % of Cr revealed similar spin moments for Fe and Cr in the range between 2.1–2.5 μB but rather large orbital moments of up to 0.50 ±0.10μB for Cr. These results were also compared to ab initio calculations.